Meet Rebecca – A Recovering Benzo Addict
Hi, I am “Rebecca” and I am recovering from a hardcore addiction to benzodiazepines. Specifically, I am in recovery from Xanax abuse; although I loved Valium and Klonopin. I also loved alcohol and weed too. Plus, I would mix my benzos with opioids like Oxy from time to time. But I can’t blame any other substance for the mess I have gotten myself into. It was all about the benzos, baby!
I am going to be completely open and honest with you about my history. In doing so, I hope I can help at least one person get help for an addiction to benzodiazepines. If I could help just one person, that would be awesome. But, I certainly hope I can help many more.
I am going to get vulnerable as I confess some of the things I am guilty of as a result of my addiction to benzos. That is what I have been asked to do. You may shudder in disgust when I tell you some of the things I have done. If you do, I can’t blame you. I sometimes lie awake at night and think about the things I did while I was using Xanax. God knows I wish I could turn back the clock and do things different.
Keep An Open Mind As You Read My Story
It’s okay if you want to judge me, but I ask that you try not to. If you are experiencing a Benzo dependence, you could end up like me. Please don’t think you are exempt. Please don’t think that you are somehow better than me and that it couldn’t happen to you. Anyone who is hooked on drugs like Xanax, Valium, or Klonopin could end up conducting themselves in the very same way I did. That is what benzodiazepines do to people.
I ask that you keep an open mind as you read my heart-felt confessions. Don’t look for what is different between me and you. Look for the similarities. The drug affects people in similar ways and causes some of the same behaviors. If you see some of yourself in this story, ask yourself why you think your addiction won’t progress the way mine did.
So, without further ado, I am going to make # shocking confessions to you about where my addiction to benzos took me.
Father, Forgive Me For I Have Sinned
When I think about some of the worst things I have done while I was addicted to benzodiazepines, there are seven things that immediately come to mind. Here they are:
CONFESSION # 1:
I can’t tell you how many guys I have had sex with. Like, I have no idea. I would frequently wake up with men in the morning and have absolutely no idea how I got there – let alone what the guy’s name was. Needless to say, none of my one-night stands ever led to a second date. (Not that having sex with a random stranger should be considered a first date).
CONFESSION # 2:
I stole Klonopin from my grandmother when I ran out of pills once. She had Stage 4 breast cancer. It was the last time I saw her alive. I went there for the sole purpose of stealing her stash. When she died, the first thought I had in my head was, “I wonder what happened to those pills.” I hate myself for that.
CONFESSION # 3:
I took my 4-year-old niece with me to buy benzos from a friend of a friend. I was completely buzzed out of my mind on Xanax and I left her in the car in the parking lot of an apartment complex while I ran inside “real quick.” I ended up smoking pot and drinking some whisky while I was there and forgot that she was in the car. She was alone in the car for like thirty minutes. Thank God nothing happened to her. I drove her home drunk and stoned.
CONFESSION # 4:
I slammed into someone else’s car while I was backing out of a parking spot at a bar. I was completely intoxicated. I really messed up their car and my car. I left really quick before anyone saw. I had full coverage and lied to the insurance company about what happened so I could get my car fixed.
CONFESSION # 5:
I transported two pounds of marijuana in my vehicle once in exchange for ten Zanbars. I was completely buzzed out of my mind and it seemed like a really good idea at the time. All I had to do was drive the guy down and then back. I could have gone to prison for trafficking.
CONFESSION # 6:
I promised my mom I would go to church with her one day. She had grown concerned about me and wanted the minister to pray over me. In the middle of the service, I stumbled out of the sanctuary to go to the bathroom because I was falling asleep. I fell down in the middle of the aisle because I couldn’t walk. My dress went up and my undies were exposed for everyone to see. I didn’t know it, though. Once I hit the floor, I just decided that was as good a place as any to take a nap. My mother got up and escorted me out of the church and took me home. She was mortified.
CONFESSION # 7:
Because of me, someone will never walk again.
These confessions represent just a few of the many things that happened when I was addicted to benzos. Now, let me tell you the WHOLE story:
A Little Background On The Old Me – The Me Before Benzos
I grew up in a good, Christian family. I was raised right. I can’t play the victim and blame my parents for the way I turned out. My parents have been married for 32 years. They have always had very professional, high-paying jobs. My two sisters and I never wanted for anything growing up.
We had the best of the best when it came to material possessions. We lived in a nice house from the time we were little – a house my parents still call home. We were each given a brand-new car when we turned 16. All three of us had our college educations paid for. But, even better than all the things we were given of monetary value, we had very loving and moral parents who supported us and taught us the important things in life.
I have a Master’s in Business Finance from a prestigious university. At the height of my career, I was making a six-figure salary working for a very well-known international banking corporation before the age of thirty. Yep, I was living large until I wasn’t.
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How I Was Introduced To Benzos
When I was doing my undergraduate studies in college, I went to a party. It was your typical frat house scenario – immature jock-types and a slew of girls fawning for their attention (me included). Some guy named Brian, who I liked at the time, offered me a little blue pill. He said it would make me feel really good. You might know the little blue pill I speak of –they are called “footballs” on the street (otherwise known as a 1 mg Xanax pill).
Now that I know better, I understand why Brian wanted me to take that pill. He wanted me to be loose and easy so he could have sex with me. As you may know, benzos make you hazy and impressionable. You lose your inhibitions.
Have sex we did – although I can’t say I remember much of it. This would become a common theme as my addiction progressed – having sex with random guys with very little memory of it. I continued to take Xanax and Valium throughout my college years, but it was a recreational thing. I loved the way they made me feel – relaxed and calm. But, the problem was that I would have difficulty remembering what I did the night before when I woke up in the morning.
I also smoked a lot of weed and drank tons of alcohol in college, but at the time, I rationalized it because I figured that is what everybody did when they were going to school. I considered it a rite of passage into adulthood.
Getting My First Prescription For Xanax And Falling In Love
About five years after getting my Bachelor’s in Business Administration, I went back to get my Master’s. I remember being under so much pressure. I was working at a small bank full-time and going to school full-time. I was wound so tight, I could barely breathe. I had extreme anxiety and I would have frequent panic attacks. I went to my doctor and he prescribed me Xanax.
The first time I took a pill, I was in heaven. It wasn’t like my days in college when I was just trying to crank the party up another notch. I got immediate relief. I was using the drug for what it is intended for – to calm anxiety and soothe my gnawing sense of panic. I can remember sitting in my easy chair and closing my eyes and feeling like I was floating on a cloud. I was in love.
At first, I would take very low doses of Xanax because the stuff was so powerful. It would really throw me for a loop. I couldn’t take it while I was working because it would knock me completely off my game. I would take a little bit at night and I would sleep awesome. I figured I had really found a solution to my anxiety and panic attacks.
My Addiction To Benzodiazepines Progressed And Before Long, I Was Hooked
For the first six months after I got my first prescription, I managed my Xanax use very well. I was responsible with it. For me, my benzodiazepine prescription was legit and it was given to me by a doctor. I saw no problems with it. But, that all changed.
I graduated with my Master’s and went to work for a major international banking corporation. I thought I was under pressure when I started taking the Xanax, but I truly didn’t know what pressure was until I started my new job. It was very demanding, fast-paced and cut-throat. The people I worked with were what I call “snakes in suits.” They were ruthless.
I started taking Xanax to get through the work day. At first it was a half a pill mid-morning. Then, it turned into a whole pill. Then it turned into two pills a day. Then it turned into three. Then four. This happened over a period of about two years. If I didn’t take my benzo, I had extreme anxiety and couldn’t function. I didn’t consider the fact that I was physically addicted. I just thought my anxiety needed to be managed with pills.
I also started drinking a lot of wine at night to relax. By the time I went to bed, I would be completely wasted. I would wake up extremely hungover and I would pop a pill to get going. I had no idea at the time that benzodiazepines are among the top drugs abused in America.
I Started Behaving Like a Benzo Junkie As My Life Became Unmanageable
Because I started taking twice as much Xanax as I was being prescribed, I would run out in the middle of the month and freak out. My doctor warned me that benzos are highly addictive and expressed her concern that I was abusing my medication. “This stuff is addictive?” I thought, “Well, now you tell me. It’s a little late for that!”
She wouldn’t give me any more so I went doctor shopping. I had five doctors at one time writing scripts for me. One of them was giving me a prescription for “Zanbars,” which you may know are the 2mg pills that are rectangular-shaped. I loved those. Before long, I was buying benzos illegally through a work associate who had picked up on my habit and offered them to me for a hefty price.
At one point, I saw a show on television where someone was snorting Xanax. I had never tried it before, so I thought, “Why not?” The first time I did it, the rush was incredible. I was immediately overwhelmed with a powerful wave of tranquility to the point that I could not hold myself up. I had to sit on the floor. By that time, I was drinking several glasses of wine a night. From there on out, I started snorting my benzos.
The Evidence Was All There – But I Just Couldn’t See It
About four years after I was given my first Xanax prescription, my life was in shambles. I can see that so clearly now, but at the time I actually thought I was managing my benzo use. How could I be in such denial? The evidence that I was hopelessly addicted was staring me in the face, but I was oblivious to it all. I just couldn’t see it for what it was.
I was having sex with random guys I was meeting at bars and barely remembering any of it. I was on my final warning at work and had been on probation three times for performance issues (including falling asleep at my desk). I was spending a considerable amount of money on Zanbars and scripts. I had wrecked my car several times after running into a dumpster, a gas pump, and a parked car. I was zonked out on pills 24-7 and my memory was completely failing me. But, I hadn’t even begun to see the worst of it. Not even close.
The day came that my entire world came crashing down around me. You could absolutely call it the day I hit rock bottom – and it was a bad bottom. It was a day straight from hell. And I was the devil.
Fired and Humiliated – Benzo-Style
We were working on a big merger at work. Millions of dollars were at stake. High-powered clients were involved. My boss had warned me that if I screwed up, I would be fired. I was surprised he even let me anywhere near the deal, actually. I was on very thin ice at the time.
I had to give a presentation. I was ill-prepared. I got up to speak and a stumbled and fell on the ground. Me falling on the ground at work had actually become quite common and I was known as the office klutz. I got up and composed myself – or so I thought. I was slurring my words and I was incoherent, but I actually thought I was doing a good job. I remember thinking, “I am SO rocking this!” What a joke.
My boss interrupted me and asked me to go to his office and wait for him. On the way out, I fell forward on the table and spilled a cup of hot coffee on the lap of a Japanese businessman in a very expensive suit. I apologized profusely. He yelled loudly, uttering a series of what I believed to be curse words in Japanese.
“That’s it!” screamed my boss in his office after the meeting was over. “You are so f*cking fired! You’re a junkie and you need to get some help!” He had security escort me out of the building and took my badge so I couldn’t come back in. Because they were afraid I was too out of it to drive, they called me a cab and told the cab driver to take me to my home address. An hour after I got home, I called my own cab and went back to pick up my car.
Arrested And Thrown In The Slammer
On the way home, I remember feeling super drowsy so I decided to close my eyes for just a few seconds. Then, everything went black. I woke up in the hospital two days later handcuffed to a hospital bed. I panicked. I had no idea why I was there or why the hell I was handcuffed.
A nurse explained angrily that I had caused a very serious accident because I was doped on Xanax. Because of me, she said, an old lady would never walk again. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I DIDN’T believe what I was hearing. I thought it was all some kind of mistake. But it wasn’t.
The stark reality of my addiction to benzos slapped me in the face. My illusions were shattered. After staying in the hospital for a week, I was transferred to the county jail and booked on numerous charges including aggravated assault with a motor vehicle resulting in bodily injury and driving under the influence of a controlled substance.
Do The Crime, Do The Time
My bail was set at $50,000. I came up with the ten percent bond in cash and my parents put up their house. I drained my savings to put on a good legal defense to try and get out of the trouble I was in. I actually pled not guilty.
I don’t know what I was thinking. I was guilty of everything they charged me with. Because of me, a poor woman would spend her life in a wheelchair and I was only worried about saving my own ass. Disgraceful.
The jury recommended the maximum punishment for the charges against me. I was sentenced to eight years in prison. After four years, I was paroled. I went through a court-ordered substance abuse program while I was incarcerated. I haven’t done benzos, drank alcohol, smoked weed, or done any other drug since the day of the accident. That was five years ago. I am still on strictly supervised parole and undergo random drug tests.
Picking Up The Broken Pieces
I have been sober for five years. I have been out of prison for two. I live in an Oxford House. I am working hard on my recovery and things have gotten so much better since I hit bottom. I love the expression, “When you hit bottom, there is nowhere to go but up!” It’s the truth. Sure, it has taken some hard work to overcome the wreckage I caused in my addiction. But, it’s been worth it.
Working the 12 Steps has brought me a true sense of freedom. I don’t ever want to experience a relapse so I stay very active in the anonymous fellowship I am a part of. I have beautiful and supportive relationships with the women in my life. I am truly grateful that God has given me another chance.
You may be surprised to learn that I am now good friends with the lady I got into the accident with. Her name is Velma. When it came time for me to make amends, I went to her in tears and sincerely apologized for what I did to her. In an ironic twist, she has a son who is in recovery from heroin addiction. She understood that what happened was not intentional. I wasn’t myself when the accident took place. She has forgiven me and her forgiveness has allowed me to forgive myself.
Today, I am free. I am okay. I have come to terms with the past and I am looking forward to a bright future. Life is good in recovery.
Getting Help For An Addiction To Benzodiazepines
So, there you have it. My shocking confessions and the story of my addiction to benzos. It’s so sad, this story. And it’s mine. And I can’t escape from it. My life would be so different today if I had gotten help sooner. And, Velma’s life would be so different. But, I can’t take any of it back. I can only continue to share my story with others in hopes that it will help those with an addiction to benzodiazepines so they can find freedom from this devasting addiction.
If you are addicted to benzos, you can get help now. Today. You can go to rehab for Xanax and get your life on track before it spirals out of control (if it hasn’t already). You don’t want to end up with consequences that will follow you for the rest of your life. Trust me.